The incidence of examination malpractices is on the increase and this constitutes a source of worry to the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Dorcas Amissah-Ocran, Head of the national office of the council, has noted.
She said the council therefore welcomes the new WAEC law which received presidential assent in September, last year since it recommends stiffer and deterring punishment for offenders.
'The new law has come out at the right time', she said at this year’s WAEC Day – Students’ Symposium, in commemoration of the council’s 55th anniversary.
The symposium was held to sensitise students and teachers of the various second-cycle schools on the dangers of examination malpractices.
There were similar symposia in all the other regional capitals.
Mrs. Amissah-Ocran said: 'We are organising symposia countrywide to educate you on the dangers of such practices because ignorance has often informed most of examination malpractices,' she said.
She said the council was more committed than ever to lift the image of certificates coming out from Ghana to make them more acceptable in other parts of the world.
In an interview after the symposium, Kwaku Nyamekye Aidoo, Head of the National Examinations Administration Department of WAEC, said five teachers are currently being prosecuted for examination malpractices.
He said the teachers were found to have openly assisted candidates during examinations.
The court action is in line with government, as well as the council’s commitment to bringing to the barest minimum the high incidence of examination malpractices.
'Examination malpractices have a very serious effect on the moral fibre of society but this law will make the practice very unprofitable,' he said.
He blamed the practice of some teachers to teach their candidates during the final examinations on the fact that most of those teachers give 'tips' to their candidates which do not appear in the examinations.
He said a lot of students were also caught engaged in various examination malpractices, especially impersonation involving over 1000 students.
Under the new WAEC law, a student found to have had fore knowledge about examination questions before they are released, is liable to a minimum penalty of ¢12 million and maximum of ¢30 million, he said.
In addition, the person, if found guilty, will serve a jail sentence of not exceeding two years.
Copying or collusion has also been criminalised under the new law.
'If one is found engaged in any of these examination malpractices, he or she will be fined ¢6 million in addition to one year imprisonment and for possessing offensive weapons such as a knife or gun, the penalty ranges between nine and ¢18 million,' he added.
Regarding impersonation, Mr. Aidoo said, the fine is ¢12 million and one year imprisonment with three years barring from taking part in any WAEC conducted examinations for a number of years.
He therefore asked students to apply themselves assiduously to avoid being penalised for such acts.
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